Alcohol abuse treatment can help lower the risk of future criminal offenses according to a new research study from the University of Plymouth in the UK. The study shows that individuals who received alcohol abuse treatment as part of a criminal sentence had a much lower risk of being charged or convicted on other criminal offenses over the 12 month period following treatment. Treatment programs are also very cost effective when compared to the cost of incarcerating the offender. The cost can be as high as 37 times the amount of a community alcohol abuse treatment program. The new study involved participants who were all male, who all had alcohol addiction problems, and who all had previous criminal offenses. Upon conviction each study participant was assigned different treatments.
The researchers found that alcohol abuse treatment had a big impact on future criminal offenses. In the year following the completion of the alcohol abuse treatment program or their sentence the researchers found that those who did not receive treatment were more than twice as likely to re-offend or to be charged or convicted on another criminal offense. Plymouth University researchers Dr. Yaniv Hanoch, Dr. Michaela Gummerum, and Marie Needham, a Ph.D student, issued the statement “Our findings provide novel and valuable evidence to support the practice of assigning male offenders to alcohol treatment interventions, as they show an indication that alcohol treatment programs could help reduce recidivism. Given the hundreds if not thousands of offenders who might be eligible to attend an alcohol treatment program each year, this could amount to substantial public savings. Beyond financial gains, committing fewer offenses and staying out of prison have strong and continued benefits for the offenders, their families, and the community.”